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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Title: Managing the Risk of European Corn Borer Resistance to Transgenic Corn: An Assessment of Refuge Recommendations

Authors
item Hurley, Terrance - UNIV. OF RHODE ISLAND
item Secchi, Silvia - IOWA STATE UNIVERSITY
item Babcock, Bruce - IOWA STATE UNIVERSITY
item Hellmich, Richard

Submitted to: Center for Agricultural and Rural Development Staff Report
Publication Type: Other
Publication Acceptance Date: July 1, 1999
Publication Date: N/A

Interpretive Summary: Several types of genetically-engineered plants have been produced that kill insects when they feed. Scientists and crop producers are excited about these plants because they offer an effective way to kill pests without conventional chemical insecticides. Reduced chemical usage translates into less surface and ground water contamination. Dramatic control of pests on these plants, however, has many scientists concerned about pests becoming resistant to these plants. Most scientists favor resistance management programs that include non-transgenic plants that produce susceptible insects. Such plants are called refuge. The premise is that susceptible insects from refuge will mate with and genetically dilute insects that are resistant. This paper develops an agricultural production model to assess refuge recommendations.

Technical Abstract: Industry and scientist have worked to develop a high-dose refuge management plan that can effectively delay European corn borer resistance to new genetically modified pesticidal corn. For a high dose, the corn expresses enough pesticide to kill all but the most resistant corn borers. For refuge, producers plant a traditional corn variety that allows susceptible corn borers to thrive and mate with resistant corn borers slowing the proliferation of resistance. In general, the more refuge that is planted the less likely resistance. While there is general agreement on the basic premise of the high-dose refuge plan, there is disagreement regarding how much refuge is needed to manage resistance. This paper develops a stochastic agricultural production model to assess refuge recommendations. We find a) reducing the risk of resistance requires decreasing agricultural productivity, b) new technologies that are currently being tested will reduce the risk of resistance, c) producer noncompliance increases the ris of resistance, and d) non-random mating in the ECB population increases the risk of resistance.

Last Modified: 12/22/2014
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